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Some of your Queries answered

(1) Dogs in Swimming pools

A few months ago, I had a request for a solution to help an owner who had two small dogs that love to swim. The owner was very concerned that if she went out and left the dogs in the garden and if the dogs jumped into the swimming pool, they were unable to get out as there was only a ladder not steps.

I have looked to see if there are any medical reasons for not allowing dogs in swimming pools that have chlorine system but not found anything detrimental. I do know of some owners that preferred to install the alternatives of either salt or the ozone systems because their dogs love swimming. I did notice that when Winston had a weeping eye it dried up two days after swimming in the pool. There is of course one problem and this seems to be dog hairs clogging up the filter system but regular back washing should clear this out.

This problem of lack of steps is not a new problem and I read of someone who suggested using an upturned metal chair so it fits between the pool wall and the top ladder. A dog could then step onto the bottom side of the seat and step out. My only objection to this was aesthetics so when I had the same problem I used a small plastic table that you normally buy with sun lounges and brollies.

Using contact adhesive, I stuck a rubber mat on the top of the table to allow a dog some grip whilst it is getting out of the pool. I then drilled holes through the table to let the air out that accounts for much of the tables buoyancy trapped under the table in pockets. Plastic is still buoyant but jammed down behind the step I threaded some strong cord through two of the outer holes and tied the other ends tightly down to the bottom step. It must be tight, as a dog, standing on it to get in would find it unstable and refuse to use it. Tied down tight it is at then at an angle and has only a little give in it so when a dog of up to 40 kilos stands on it there is much more stability.

A friend of mine has a dog that loves swimming but not in a pool without steps. We spent a lot of time encouraging the dog to swim and getting in and out using the table. Now he goes in and out on his own, as it is great for keeping cool. Only problem now is you cannot keep him out.

(2) Registering your pets microchip

Last week I heard from and English pet owner who has lived in France for many years and has now come to Spain. He tried to register his French microchip with his local vet who told him he had the wrong certificate. The vet told him to send it back to Paris and obtain one accepted throughout the EU: Odd?

Six weeks passed and he heard nothing so he telephoned me. As far as I am aware, the certificate that comes with the microchip is valid anywhere in Europe and actually, the certificate is not supposedly essential to carry with you when you travel but best you do and be on the safe side.

I suggested the vet could be incorrect and to telephone Paris to obtain a copy certificate to register with a different vet. He later confirmed Paris is doing this so everything should be satisfactory in the future.

(3) Neutering Bitches

I am still receiving a lot of mail regarding Spanish Vets reluctance to neuter bitches before their first season. Many still hold to the belief that bitches will not mature correctly. I can only repeat that you must be firm and even to ask your vet to look on the web for the current world Veterinary consensus on this point. It is medically and mentally beneficial if a bitch is neutered as early as possible if you do not wish to breed from her.

(4) Cruelty laws in Spain

Many thanks to Maia at Aliaga kennels near Teulada as she has found for us some cruelty laws, which are as follows after translation.


A pet is any animal reproduced for the intention of living with people.  The law applies especially to dogs and cats.  Excluded are any animals that they normally use for experiments and those bred to obtain work, meat, skin, or any other products.

- The "putting down" (or killing!) of animals physical suffering, without necessity or just cause.
-  To cause any animal any ill treatment or to submit them to any practice that can cause them unnecessary or unjustified damage or suffering.
-  To abandon them.

- Keep them in inadequate installations from the sanitary-hygiene point of view or that are inadequate for their care and necessary attention according the ethological needs, depending on breed and species. 
- Practice mutilations unless controlled by a vet if it were
- Necessary.

  Not providing the nutrition, they need for their normal development.

-  Donate animals as a prize, reward, or compensation.

-  Give them drugs, pharmaceutical products or foods that contain substances that can cause them suffering, serious upsets that can alter their physiological natural development or death, except in cases controlled by a vet if need be.

-  Sell them or donate them for experiments to laboratories or clinics.

-  Sell them.  The breeding and commercialisation is inforce by licences and laws.

-  The uses of pets in shows, fights, fiestas, or other activities that may imply cruelty or ill treatment, death, suffering or submit them to unnatural treatments.

-  Keeping of animals in places where they cannot receive adequate attention and supervision.

-  The freeing of exotic species maintained as pets into the "wild".

-  Giving sanitary assistance to animals by persons not qualified. 
These are Spanish Laws translated and currently in existence but again so many people write into me to say they continue to see cruelty as defined as above but find the authority have little wish in taking any action. Again all people can do is to try to persevere with the authority. As evidence of this, we see the shelter near Torrevieja now has a Judge saying that the owners of this establishment, even after seeing all the pictures, have no case to answer.

Cruelty is everywhere even in the United Kingdom so any outraged citizens should continue to complain no matter where they are domiciled or where they were born. Just because we are born in a land where there is still practiced cruelty even disguised as acceptable cruelty like hunting does not bar us and we all have every right to complain when ever we see people being cruel to any animal. Changes will come and if there are continued complaints it will help to speed changes than if we were to simply give up and walk away.

I am trying to persuade Mrs Theresa Villiers MEP who vigorously campaigns on behalf of stopping animal cruelty everywhere to standardise cruelty laws throughout the EU and enforce them. Spain does not have any opt-out clauses within the EU, as they are full members. They cannot select only the ones they like.

(5) The problem of roaming dogs

Many animal shelters here and in the UK receive dogs that after a given period of trying to find them a new home so even if they are a healthy dog they would have them humanly put to sleep by a vet. However, we have many charities where all dogs that cannot find a home can live out their lives. These charities are very proud to say they never put a healthy dog to sleep. Many of the dog shelters here try never to put healthy dogs down but it costs a lot of money.

Shelters do so much charitable work trying to find homes for roaming dogs they have all become financial stretched. We learn the other week of a number of shelters threatened with closure and in particular, ASPASA was in debt to 20,000 euros. Think if each one of us in our areas were to give just one euro, we could solve their problem and more roaming dog would find a new home.

The other day I have learnt that from collections and donations ASPASA collected 16,000 euros once people learnt of their plight. A very great achievement and they know people appreciate their work.

I see so many other people continue to regularly purchase tins of dog food and leave them in the prescribed trolley in my local supermarket. This does help keep their bills down and we know it goes directly to needy hungry dogs. If you could persuade your local shop to do the same in your area, you would certainly help your local shelter. We do need the Shelters so do not let them close and please continue to give them your support.

The other day I recived this email informing me of the existence of an official Killing shed and the section reads: -

This shelter is in El Campillo near Minas de Riotinto
and it carries the name of its obvious function:
"Recogida y sacrificio de perros abandonados

Is Campillo wrong in following this method provided they carry this out in a humane way? Is it wrong to adopt a cull policy where the problem is so far out of hand that it threatens human health? Did we not follow such a policy in the UK? If a dog cannot find a home and shelters do not have money should they keep dogs as borders for their entire lifetime? Mind you, had this happened then my Winston who lived in one from a puppy for over three years, he would not be with me today?

If I asked you to look at the problem of roaming dogs, what method would you find acceptable? You have to remember that if we want shelters to take in and attempt to find homes for roamers we must help them financially to do so.

I support the majority of people who fight cruelty wherever they see it. We though must have laws that maintain an acceptable balance to protect us from disease. We may feel some disappointment in having to use euthanasia but never the less if it is the only way in which to maintain the balance in our ecology we all live in order to survive then do we have no choice but to use it.

Alternatively, if we choose that shelters should always keep all healthy dogs alive even if there is no home found for them, then they need our financial support.


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